Rice Cooker Vs Instant Pot: Which One Is Worth Buying?
Making rice isn’t always easy. If you find that you regularly end up with gloopy rice or rice that’s burned at the bottom, you should consider purchasing an appliance that will make the rice for you – and take the hassle out of the rice-cooking process.
Should you buy a rice cooker or instant pot?
For making rice, both of these appliances work well, but they have some important pros, cons, and differences in how they function.
With that in mind, read on to find out if your best bet is to purchase a rice cooker or if you should choose an instant pot instead. Say goodbye to disappointing rice forever!
What Is A Rice Cooker?
As its name implies, a rice cooker is an electrical appliance in which you cook rice. How it works is that it prepares the rice automatically, so it will gauge when the rice has reached the correct temperature and has been cooked properly, and then will move from cooking mode to warming mode.
This piece of equipment makes it really easy for you to make rice because all you need to do is add the ingredients and switch it on. It really couldn’t be simpler!
Best of all, when the rice has been cooked, the cooker will ensure it stays hot. If you want, you can use the cooker to reheat your rice for later use. You can purchase rice cookers in different sizes, depending on the amount of rice you usually make in your home.
- A rice cooker makes it quick and easy to make rice. Generally, a rice cooker will be able to cook rice in between 25 and 35 minutes.
- Many rice cookers come with a rice paddle or rice spoon included so that you can scoop out the rice from the pot without damaging the cooker’s non-stick coating.
- This appliance prevents clumpy, sticky rice. The great thing about having a rice cooker is that it will ensure you can make light, beautiful rice every single time.
- A rice cooker isn’t limited to cooking rice. You can use it to cook other grains, such as quinoa and farro, or cook your morning oatmeal in it. You can even use a rice cooker when making soups and steamed vegetables.
- You can’t use other cooking utensils to scoop out your rice. This can scratch and damage the rice cooker’s non-stick coating. When this happens, it will severely reduce the cooker’s ability to give you great-tasting rice.
- Brown rice doesn’t cook evenly in every rice cooker model. In some, the bottom layer of the rice becomes crusty while in others it becomes gloopy.
How To Make Rice In A Rice Cooker
If you want to make delicious rice at home, you can do so with a rice cooker that’s easy to learn and use.
- Start by rinsing your rice. This removes extra starch, but only wash the rice once or twice with cold water. You want some starch to remain so that the rice has a bit of stickiness which makes it easy to eat with chopsticks. You can wash the rice in your rice cooker pot.
- Use the water-to-rice ratio of 1:1 for any grain of rice, unless your rice cooker specifies otherwise.
- Fill your rice cooker pot with water and rice. Put it on the cooker and switch it on. Note that some rice cookers have one power switch without any other options, but others provide various settings to choose from, such as if you want a normal cooking program or a faster cook.
- Press “start” and let the rice cooker work its magic. Don’t open the lid during the cooking process as you don’t want to disrupt the water and steam processes.
- The rice cooker will alert you, such as with a sound, when the rice has been cooked.
- Allow the rice to sit for about five minutes after it’s been cooked to let the moisture in the pot get distributed through the rice, then fluff it up before serving.
What Is An Instant Pot?
An instant pot is basically a pressure cooker. However, the reason why it’s so loved by many cooks is that it is versatile. It can replace many kitchen appliances – including the rice cooker – because it can be used in so many different ways.
You can use an instant pot to slow cook, sauté, and steam your favorite foods. You can also use it for more than one cooking task. For example, if you’re browning and cooking chicken in it, you can do these tasks simultaneously. Generally, cooking meals in an instant pot will take less than one hour.
An instant pot is so fast because of how it has a pressure-cooking function that preserves steam created by the liquid. This creates pressure and pushes steam back onto the food so that it can be cooked.
- You can safely cook foods that are frozen in your instant pot, unlike other traditional cooking methods that take a long time to heat up and which can therefore expose meat products to bacteria. The one thing to remember when cooking frozen food in your instant pot, though, is to note that it will take longer to cook.
- You can cook foods at temperatures of up to around 240 degrees Fahrenheit in your instant pot, which makes it useful for cooking in a variety of ways.
- You can insert various dishes into the instant pot, depending on its size and model. For example, cupcake molds can be inserted so you can bake delicious sweet treats.
- You’ll be able to better control the heat you need by using an instant pot, thanks to its temperature settings that enable you to cook on low, medium, or high heat – and you can also choose to keep the food warm.
An instant pot’s cooking time might actually be longer than what you thought.
For example, you might think you’ll cook something in 30 minutes, but you have to add approximately 10 minutes to that for the instant pot to build pressure if you’ve put it on “pressure mode” and then you’ll have to add 10 minutes to the time it takes for the pressure to release.
So, add an extra 20 or 30 minutes to your cooking time to ensure you make meals on time.
How To Make Rice In An Instant Pot
- Rinse your rice and then get the right water-to-rice ratio. While a 1:1 ratio is said to be useful, this isn’t always the best method. It’s better to use a bit more water when cooking wild rice or brown rice.
- Make sure you pressure cook the rice on high heat, and lock the lid. The cooking time for the rice will vary depending on the type of rice you’re cooking. For example, wild rice needs 15 minutes, white rice needs five minutes, and long-grain brown rice requires 10 minutes to cook.
- Let the rice “natural release” for 10 minutes. This feature on the instant pot means its pressure will be released slowly on its own instead of all at once. This makes the rice fluffy and reduces the risk of it burning
- Then, open the valve and release any extra pressure.
- Fluff up the rice with a fork.
- You might want to use the “warm” setting on your instant pot if you need to keep the rice hot before you’re ready to serve it.
Rice Cooker Vs Instant Pot: How Are They Similar?
Both the rice cooker and instant pot can be used to successfully cook delicious, fluffy rice.
Generally, both can be used to make other foods, although an instant pot is more versatile.
How Are They Different?
Rice cookers and instant pots vary a lot in different ways.
Let’s explore this deeper by looking at their differences in various categories, such as how they’re designed and how they cook rice.
An instant pot is a pressure pot that builds pressure so that the boiling point of water is increased. This enables you to cook food inside the pot at a much faster rate and at a higher heat. It comes with a rubber lining lid that traps steam so that the pressure inside the appliance can be maintained – and your cooking time can be shortened.
A rice cooker, on the other hand, doesn’t maintain pressure like an instant pot does; instead, it works as a food steamer.
A rice cooker won’t reach temperatures much higher than boiling point, as the water becomes steam which is then absorbed back into the rice. This appliance has a cooking bowl, power system, and thermostat to heat water up to the ideal temperature before converting it to steam.
Their Rice-Cooking Process
Instant pots will come with a button for making rice. But, this button is reserved for long-grain white rice so if you want to make other kinds of rice you’ll have to use the regular “Pressure Cook” program on the device that comes with temperature ranges for you to follow.
You’ll have to take some time to find the best settings for your specific type of rice.
With a rice cooker, you have buttons you can use to cook a range of different rice types and grains, so it’s easier to choose the settings that work for you.
Their Cooking Speeds
Generally, an instant pot will cook foods faster than a rice cooker. This is because of how it uses pressure to cook foods whereas a rice cooker doesn’t.
Which appliance is easier to use? While they both are easy to start using, an instant pot will require a bit of time and practice to get it right because it has so many other features. In this way, a rice cooker is easier to grasp for beginners.
With an instant pot, you can use it as a variety of appliances – it can work as a warmer, steamer, sauté machine, slow cooker, pressure cooker, and rice cooker. You can find high-end models that even let you air fry or sous vide.
While you might be able to use your rice cooker to cook foods besides rice, you can’t do much more than steam foods. Most recipes will use steam as the cooking method, which might start to feel restrictive after some time.
Their Food Sterilization
This is an interesting feature you might not have thought about when deciding if you should purchase a rice cooker or instant pot.
Some instant pots on the market come with a sterilize function. This means that they sterilize food against bacteria.
Although you can somewhat sterilize your food in a rice cooker because it makes use of boiling water, this appliance doesn’t have the same sterilization ability as an instant pot with that function on board.
Their Price Tags
A rice cooker wins in this category because it’s usually much cheaper than an instant pot.
You can find a rice cooker that costs around $15 while a budget-friendly instant pot can easily set you back by around $60.
So, Which One Should You Buy?
If you’re not sure if you should purchase a rice cooker or instant pot, it’s good to ask yourself what you’re going to use it for when whipping up meals at home.
If you only want an appliance that will cook rice perfectly, then a rice cooker is worth it. If, on the other hand, you want an appliance that can cook rice but also offer you a variety of other cooking methods, an instant pot is a wiser choice for the long run.
Will a rice cooker ensure that your rice never burns?
While you might think a rice cooker will always prevent rice from burning, this isn’t the case. If you don’t mix the rice and water at the correct ratios, this can lead to burned rice.
Can you fry food in a rice cooker?
If you have a regular rice cooker, you won’t be able to fry or deep-fry foods in it because it doesn’t reach hot enough temperatures.
Both a rice cooker and instant pot are valuable appliances to have in the home.
But which one is better?
In this article, we’ve tackled the rice cooker vs instant pot debate, featuring both of these appliances’ pros and cons. Never eat gloopy rice again!